The Darkest World
"... and in the darkest of nights, the kind of night where the birds are silenced by their own fear of the lurking darkness; That's when you really know, the true face of a man."
The day the world ended was the results of a single decision, from a single man, who with the push of a button changed the outlook of the future forever. Descended into darkness, forever changed, the lives of humanity. During a single night, at the peak of it's darkest hour, a glimmering angel fell from the heavens. As if cast out of heaven, because it was no angel, it was a N.E.W. bomb. New Experimental Weaponry, designed to fight the wars of man born from those with the darkest hearts of power and greed. An explosion followed the bomb's descent, creating a ripple across the entire world. A test site that turned out to be on a global scale. The first, and last test, of the N.E.W bomb, destroyed all progress of mankind. On the other side of the world, windows shattered from an unseen wave of force, cars overturned, the land shook and buildings collapsed. The Land of the Fallen, as the world would soon call the test site, was completely devoid of everything but scorched earth and radiation. The clouds soaked up this radiation, forming into a quivering black mass that stretched across the sky. Water sources became tainted, a few further away from the blast remained unscathed by the radiation and pure. As the clouds stretched their tendrils across the sky, so did the water quiver. Turning black, deadly, with a mind of its own. Those who tread into what would be called the blight water, become enveloped entirely, until their body became on with the liquid through decay.
By morning, the world had forever changed. A man walked out of his house, perplexed by the broken windows. His new sleeping medication causing him to sleep through the cataclysmic destruction, the violence that followed. He looked at his overturned car, still dressed in his night clothes. All around him there was only devastation, fires, and looting. His neighbor stumbled from their house, and he looked on in horror as the woman collapsed to the ground. Twitching violently, she screamed. Her body twisting, her bones breaking, as if something from a movie he had once seen; about an exorcism. Moments later the deformed creature stumbled away from his body, trailing blood behind it, it's gnarled teeth smiling cruelly at the easy meal. All around the world people reacted violently to this new radiation, the unfortunate ones remained the unaffected. Those closest to the Fallen Land became walking nightmares, children became the monsters of their dreams. The Pacific Asian area became uninhabitable within the next few days, the horrors becoming the new dominant predators of the world. Uncaring from where their next meal would come, unbiased in their ending of the lives of everything these creatures came across.
As the years passed, shreds of mankind had survived. The newer, mutated species, of the world choosing to roam the land; some built burrows, some lived in caves, still others had primitive intelligence and formed their own barbaric society of blood and hunger. But those who had retained the civility, their humanity, sought to the earth and the skies. There were those who lived underneath the land, choosing the crushing darkness as their home. Transit tunnels for the huge underground trains, that once carried these people around in their daily lives, were now the dependency of life. Societies formed within the tunnels, inhabiting them. Luckier ones scavenged materials and built their homes in the great stations where these underground trains would stop in a time that seemed so long ago. The largest of these refuges were where they would dock the trains, for service repairs, or to be retired. Great underground complexes full of these trains, some protected from the blast, the knowledge of how to work them lost to nearly all. The others, taking to the skies; at first built small camps atop the larger, stronger skyscrapers. Soon they became linked through bridges, relatively safe from the creatures below. Unlike the tunnels were certain death awaited just outside the door. Great networks of walkways and platforms formed, until these so societies became a city in the sky. The world of darkness, once again had places of relatively safe living. The above were lived in what was called the Aetherworld, those below the Underworld, and the land in between Overworld.
Still the years passed. Through scavenge and luck these enclaves of society survived the horrors, the tragedies of their new lives. Old technology was salvaged, militias and police systems formed. The wastes of the Overworld were rarely ventured into; only those of the braver caliber went down, or up, to salvage. Those who survived prospered off of old technology. Still, the newer talking of N.E.W was salvaged and formed into rudimentary weapons. Most tended to be quiet explosive, but the brighter minds of mankind developed others that were acidic, or having absurd mass density. These cities became a light in the darkness, literally glowing beacons of the night. Eventually power was established, bringing the comfort of regularly maintained lamps. Self sustaining power through the use of N.E.W technology, sometimes quite combustive, but it worked and mankind is a creature of comfort. A way to condense water from the moisture of the air was formed. Farms were created on these enormous cities, and through a N.E.W steroid shot, cattle could be raised and butchered in a week. Though if a health department has existed they would have warned us of the high toxicity of this kind of meat, enhanced growth the likes of which never seen. Though eventually an immunity was formed to this toxic meat, and less people became sick from it. Even fewer died.
But it's through this toxic, radioactive meat, that the anomalies formed. An unknown disease existing in a person's heart. If viewed directly this anomaly looks like a small ball of electricity, and if examine under a microscope it could have been seen to attached itself to blood cells, recycling through the body. While not deadly, a prolonged use of the strange powers it gave people could be problematic. It happens in two forms. The first of which is more like an infection, integrating with a person's bones, muscles, tissue, or brain cells. Causing a higher passive functionality, meaning stronger bones, faster speeds, smarter brains. The second is the more cancerous form, cycling through the body attached to cells. Though it has been studied little, those with the more active powers are called Sparklings. Viewed as a monstrous limbo between a human, and a monster. The anomaly in the heart, passing bits of itself through the host, it able to be manipulated into a physical form. Some people can, though unknowing of the process, create fire. Which is actually the anomaly coming from the skin, linked to the brain, and controlling molecules in the air. Rubbing them together to create friction at high speeds, and thus created fire. Through the same process a person could create light, and electricity. Though it is worth noting that a person with more than one kind of anomaly runs a higher risk of the side effects.
When in use, the anomaly pushes the blood as at a higher rate. Which in turn makes the heart beat faster. Pushed to far the heart could stop entirely, go into cardiac arrest, it could result in a coma. The shutdown or interference with the heart, affects the anomaly directly, and effects every part of a Sparklings body. So the list of side effects is quite large, so that it would take up considerable space to list. Those unlucky few became Darklings, those affected with an anomaly tainted by the dark liquid. The thicker form of blight water, a liquid parasite. Instead of blood there is only the dark liquid, pulsing through their veins. Their active manifestation is manipulation of the dark liquid, able to be manipulated and shaped into any form desired. The occurrences of these people are extremely rare. While anomalies may alter physical appearances, there is no way to tell a Darkling from a Sparkling until use of the anomaly power. Unlike a Sparkling, who is banished by those more fearful, some lucky enough to just suffer as an outcast in society; Darklings are outright killed for the hideousness.
The world is in perpetual night. There is no rain, plants are ugly, covered in bristles and thorns. Green foliage is almost nonexistent. With the darkening of the world, so went the hearts of the men and women who lived in it. Society, while a resemblance of the former world at best, was dark and dirty. The Underworld being particularly unpleasant at times. Society reformed itself, and has existed for generations. Those surviving the end of world long dead, and those of the new world are left with only stories.
Nami smiled to herself, not so much in happiness but in the sadistic nature that those of such nature would smile at stalking prey. Which in fact, is exactly what she was doing. The weight of her gear faded away as she crouched low to the ground, creeping forward on all fours. Deep within her chest a growl formed, passing through her pointed teeth, whispering across her lips before blasting out into the night. She could see, through her night vision, smaller creatures running in terror. And the larger one, right in front of her, dropping his gear and salvage as he sprinted away from her. His tiny, pathetic human legs carrying him away from her so slowly. Painfully slow. Still, she crawled forward, her heart hammering in the chest that was not hers, and yet it was. Perhaps that was the side effect from using, but she shrugged the feeling off. Her body twitched in anticipation, a gruesome thing to witness and her head cocked violently to one side, before snapping back. The predator was taking over, washing away all reserves about what she was going to do. She had come to terms with it long ago, but somewhere buried deep in her humanity it still bothered her. For a second anyways.
Her claws dug deeps into the earth as she sprung forward. Her body cloaked in the black viscous substance of dark liquid, nearly invisible against the dark night, nothing but a vague blur that could have been your imagination. The rubble of the ruined city's outskirts flashed by her, and yet she easily avoided obstacles as if she had been walking. She flew up a wall, her claws digging deep into the stone for purchase. She flew over the top, and resuming her chase, bounded over the ruined buildings. Deep within her another excited growl uttered form, the terrified man looked over his shoulder. If she had looked at herself, she would have known what he had seen, but she did know. Dark golden eyes, and nothing else but blackness. Even her teeth where covered in the thick liquid, forming into jagged points. He screamed, more like shrieked, as he ran panicked. Nami's morphed ears , now pointed and quivering as she listened to everything around her. She felt as if she could hear the man's heart beat, panicking in his chest.
She was closing in on him, her speed easily outmatching his. She slowed down a little, delighted by the hunt. She growled, he screamed again. She slowly came closer and closer until she was close enough to take him in a single leap. She could hear him whimpering, muttering, panicking. She growled against and this time he fell as he looked back at her. His heart must have stopped at seeing her so close. He sat up, terrified, every shadow on his face eliminated by her enhanced eyes, night vision granted through the dark liquid.
"Oh god! NO! Please! NO!" The man screamed, begging. Did he know what she was? Perhaps.
She smiled, her teeth reflecting it's original white color, obscured by the blackness of her power. She prowled forward, almost seductive, if she weren't currently a blood thirsty creature of the night. She stopped just before him, he was terrified into speechlessness, fumbling as his hip for a gun they both knew would be pointless. She didn't even try to move as he pointed it at her, his hands shaking wildly, throwing off his aim by a ward margin. The bullet whizzed past her head, and sunk deep into her shoulder. Or at least that's what it would have seemed. Another shot, two, three, and then the man was out of ammo. He looked as her in uncertain panic, had he killed it? The bullets chimed impossibly loud on the old world pavement as the cloak of darkness absorbed the impact before it ever reached her skin, letting them slowly fall out of her dark cloak. His low quality gun only furthered the futility of his resistance, his eyes widened with the same realization. He opened his mouth, to protest maybe, but he was cut short as Nami lunged forward. Her claws sunk into his legs as she used him for purchase, her momentum slamming into him and carrying them both backwards. Though she was on top of him now, her teeth tearing at the soft spongy flesh of his mid section. He screamed as she tore through him, tasting the deliciousness of his blood as it quenched her parched throat. He was more delicious than anything she could have had as a regular person.
Moments later she was but a woman, the dark liquid receding back into her body. She hadn't even begun to exert herself, her heart beat normally. She was satisfied, her hunger was faded completely. Even when she ate normal food until fullness, there was always some little piece missing, something unsatisfied. The thrill of the hunt, or the exquisite meat of a lone wanderer. Behind her, the torso of the man she had murdered. Rather, what was left of it. Partially eaten, some of it strewn about in pieces. He face still open in the horror as to what was happening to him. With the new group forming, adventurers outside the cities were becoming more common. Something that delighted her darker side. It was called W.W.A.V , though most people just called it Wave. Waste Walkers and Visionaries was a group that stood for the betterment of mankind, there first publicly stated goal was to establish communication and trade with other cities. It was already widely popular throughout the city, facing little to no resistance.
She stopped to crouch next to a puddle, peering at herself with her still yellow eyes; night vision was too luxurious to give up, especially because she made the foolish mistake of not carrying a light of any kind in her excitement to hunt. She had found out the man was leaving, on his mission, having already established a rudimentary communication with Gatson, the name of her Underworld home city. Using the water she rinsed off her grimy face, brushing the jet black hair from her face. She never felt she was something special to look at, and the kind of men she was usually around did nothing to deter her from that feeling. Although given she usually hung around bars. And that's exactly where she was heading, dressing in her dirty white waster walkers shirt; popular of neck cloth that could be pulled up as a mouth and nose guard, and the hood which was really just to hide underneath. None-to-special pants and a pair of dirty boots that lead her through the tunnels and to the door of Gatson. The great massive gate, forged from the scraps of the old world. The men knew her, especially as she was a part of the militia herself though if anyone had learned of the darker abilities she would be killed without hesitation. She passed through the gate, through the holding area, further passed the cargo hold and up into the city itself. Extremely cramped, and quite loud the streets boasted a width of maybe five people. Crowds surged in different directions, many places held up as others stopped to look at the street shops. Within minutes she had pushed through the crowd and found herself at Rasco's Place. A bar popular because it was closest to the gate, and was most prone for its flow of information and rumors. That and it's beer tasted like dirt, instead of old leather and cat piss.
Nami sighed and leaned back, setting her feet up on the table as she sipped her mostly clean cup. Her eyes long since returning to their nonthreatening crystal blue. She could faintly hear the buzz of the crowd outside, surging through the streets at a pace that could only be described as an unsteady wobble. But within the walls of Rasco's, the world outside was drowned out by the sorrowful sounds of a man, who was playing a long curved instrument. It's notes were long and drawn out, almost as if it were telling a sad story. Nami had once heard the instrument called a sexyphone , she called that person a liar at the absurdity of it. She had found phones before, and they sold for a decent price. The musician let out one final, long drawn out note, it's pitch warbling from high to low notes, and with a quiet applause he took his bow and left the stage. Nami closed her eyes, feeling the dark amber liquid settling in her stomach, mingling with the results of her earlier activities.
"Nami..." A soft voice spoke, the kind of voice a father would speak to his young daughter in.
Her eyes fluttered as she pretended to be asleep, precariously balanced with her chair tipped back supported by her feet.
"Nami!" The softness changed, sounding a little more desperate. Desperate to be heard, to be acknowledged free of will.
That only lasted a second as her feet were swept off the table, "Nami!". The chair tipped and Nami rolled out of it gracefully, her twisting body carrying her into a backwards roll. Within a moment she was standing, the man's hands were held up in the air as if to signal surrender. Light gleamed off the metal of the blade she had pulled from its hidden hiding place, pressed against the tender tissue of his neck. "Nami..." he said, the quiet desperation back in his voice. She sneered and withdrew her knife, which slipped unnoticed back into it's rightful place in her attire. She picked the chair up, and sat down it in with her legs sprawled out before her. She took another sip of her drink, glaring at the man over the rim of her cup. There was a loud bang as the second chair hit the floor, propelled by a swift kick from Nami. The man had made a move to sit down, but she would have none of that.
"I haven't heard from you in days, you know this isn't my usual place," he placed his hands on the table, looking at her.
"What do you want Aren?" She asked passively, her tone as cold as ice.
"Why don't you come to see me anymore? What happened to us?" His knuckles were white. She studied him, finally deciding that it wasn't anger, but despair.
"What. Do you. Want, Aren?" She set her glass down, tapping her fingers on the table repetitively.
He grit his teeth, staring her down. She returned his gaze, her icy blue eyes penetrating through his frail willpower. He let out a grunt of frustration and slapped a poster onto the table. He turned, his instrument swaying on its shoulder strap as he strode from the bar. She make a point not to look at the poster; and then leaned forward and snatched it from the other side of the table.
Waster Walkers and Visionaries!
Looking for work? A new life? A place to be safe with your loved ones?
Wave is a newly formed organization looking to change the face of the world,
For the betterment of mankind! Communications Arrays, Trade Routes, Agricultural Sciences, Biology, and much more!
We need every kind of skilled person! And you're welcome to bring your family as well! Don't hesitate. Join Today!
Change The Future Into Something Brighter!
Locate your local Wave staff officer to find out more.
Aren had underlined two phrases of the poster, and left a note scribbled at the bottom of the colorful poster; "Somewhere Safe. Together. Away from this hell."
She sighed sadly. In fact, being so cold and distant from the one person she loved, and whom she knew loved her back, weighed heavily on her heart. But he had come so close, so very close, to finding out what she was. The danger she posed to him with her very presence. It was rumored that Darklings eventually went mad, until they turned into something else entirely. Whatever the new species of Darklings were they had many names; Wanderers, Dark Ones, Ancients. She shook her head sadly, if the rumors were true she could be no where near Aren. Despite the fact of him almost stumbling upon her horrible truth. She looked at the poster again.
"Alright Aren, For you." She mumbled quietly. It would be a chance to get away. To forget this place, to start over new. Maybe do something product with her life. Although, Aren would not be joining her. She sighed, her heart turning to lead with remorse as she ordered another round.